When President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January, they’ll be bringing their German Shepherds, 12-year-old Champ and two-year-old Major, with them. Not only will the dogs be filling a notable vacancy—in a break with a century-long tradition, the White House has been dogless since the Obamas moved out in 2017—Major will also make history as the first shelter dog to occupy the celebrated residence.

For Champ, the older of the two dogs, this return to Washington, D.C., is an encore performance. As a puppy, he joined the Biden family shortly before they moved into Number One Observatory Circle, the vice-president’s official residence, in 2009. (He’s reportedly also the reason the Bidens replaced the residence’s carpeting with hardwood floors, a move any dog-lover can sympathize with.) Major, on the other hand, will need…

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